Rockford Half Marathon race report
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
This race seemed to be jinxed from the start.
I signed up for this race because, even though it was a 70 mile drive from my house, it offered race day packet pickup, so I would need to make only one trip. I originally had signed up for and planned on running the full marathon. I had found a suitable 18 week training plan that I downloaded into my calendar. The plan included daily email reminders with nutrition and training suggestions.
The first month went well. I was getting all of my mid week runs in, I was doing my cross training and I was enjoying the long runs on weekends.
Somewhere in week 5, I noticed that I had entered the wrong date for the actual race. The bad news is, I could not figure out how to adjust the calendar with the correct date. The good news is, the correct date was 2 weeks later, so I actually had some extra time to train.
Without going into details, I had some health issues that forced me to miss a good chunk of my training. Even with the extra 2 weeks, I felt my training was off enough that I was prompted to change my venue from the full to the half marathon. Fortunately, I was able to do this without any hassle.
Between CT scans, ultrasounds, poking and prodding of various body parts and finally a prostate biopsy that resulted in an entire week of NO activity whatsoever, I questioned whether my training was adequate even for the half marathon.
Fortunately, none of the tests showed any problems, and the issue that prompted this entire investigation in the first place had not re-occurred. I was even able to get a few runs in the final week of training.
Race day, I was up at 3:30, which is not really a problem for me, as I am usually up at 4:00 anyway. I had my bowl of oatmeal and a banana, donned my race duds, strapped on my garmin and was on the road by 4:30. With a 7:00 start time and a 70 mile drive, I figured I would have at least an hour for packet pickup and the required visit to the porta-potty. I had already planned out my route and knew parking was very close to the packet pickup area and race start.
Of course, the trip took 30 minutes longer than I had planned, and 6 blocks from the parking location, the left rear strut on my car broke. By the time I rolled into the parking lot, my tire was starting to smell like burning rubber because the spring was rubbing against it.
So, here I am, 6:30 Sunday morning in a strange town, with a broken down car and half an hour to get my race packet, pin on my number and make a pit-stop, and no idea how I’m going to get the car repaired and/or get home when the race is over. Thinking I would have a better chance of contacting needed resources at a more reasonable hour, and given that I was already here, I made up my mind to do the race first and worry about the rest later. I sprinted off to the packet pickup and the now much needed porta-potty and was lined up at the start with 30 seconds to spare.
It was a beautiful, calm sunny day with temperatures at about 65F. The running crowd was enthusiastic and noisy and ready to have a good time, and I was determined to enjoy it as well.
I found the pace group I wanted to run with, double checked my Garmin and,,,,WHAT? Lost satellite signal? Come on Garmin, you NEVER lose the signal, shape up!! Crap, are we moving? Was that the start horn? Yes, and yes. Okay, stay calm, keep moving, turn Garmin off and on, don’t trip over the start grid, and hope the signal locks in before I’ve gone too far. And because I’ve been looking at Garmin, I lost my pace group.
Found the group, Garmin is now working and we’re on our way. It is chip timed after all, so Garmin or no, I’ll be fine. And I was, for the first 6 miles. I was running well, feeling strong, staying hydrated, changing off between water and gator-ade. The crowds were terrific, race support was outstanding and I was keeping a nice 9:45 pace right up to mile 7.
Then I just completely lost my focus for the race. I started thinking about the car, and how I was going to get it repaired and how I was going to get home. The last part of the race was a struggle. I know I walked a lot and I remember having a good sprint into the finish, but that’s all I recall about the last few miles. I knew my time was not going to be anything to write home about, but I was just glad to be done so I could get other matters taken care of.
Well, in the end, things worked out reasonably well. My insurance card had a number for emergency road service right on the card. They had a tow truck at my car within 20 minutes. The tow truck driver took one look at the car and saw the problem right away (I didn’t know it was a broken strut until he told me, I just knew something was really wrong). He made two phone calls, and found a shop that was open on Sunday and could get me right in. The shop had my car up on the hoist within minutes of arriving. Three hours and several hundred dollars later, I was safely on my way home.
So, another half marathon under my belt, not a PR, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. And I did get two medals, a medal for the half marathon, and a medal for 2nd place in my age division. But I was glad when the day was over and I was safely home again.